It’s been a year since we launched the first issue of Built Oregon. And it’s been quite a year at that. Thank you for joining us in that journey.
We are proud to have published more than 50 stories about Oregon entrepreneurs and support groups, many of which had never received the recognition they so richly deserved. We have organized seven events that have brought all of us together to learn more about storytelling, makers, startup communities, and regional movements. And we have had the opportunity to sit down with four founders to discuss their journeys and share them through our podcast.
Many of you have supported us since the beginning. And we are incredibly grateful for the time, money, and feedback you have given to Built Oregon. However, now that 2015 is almost over, it’s time to look forward and focus on what’s next.
Stories are what weave us together and inspire us. They bring us in, invite us to act, and create conversations. We launched with the intent of telling these stories via our website, and that will continue to be a focus in 2016.
Oregon prides itself as a state of craftspeople. Images of those people, their workspaces, and their products provide unique insights into what is being built here. For that reason, we are placing additional focus on better documenting Oregon’s founders with photography that is as compelling and beautiful as the businesses that they are building.
We are going to expand our Founder Talk podcasts in the coming year. These talks will focus on discussing the challenges, opportunities, and sometimes (ok many times) craziness that comes from founding a business. Some of the talks will be an interview with one founder, while others will be a founder interviewing another founder or group discussions on certain topics.
The power of video from a storytelling perspective cannot be understated. We are going to start a series titled “Business and Beverages.” The videos will focus on telling companies’ brand story, product development, uniqueness, economic, and community impact. We will take you “under the hood” of these businesses and show you how the products are made or innovations developed, along with down to earth conversations with founders and area business leaders over a local beverage.
Creating awareness and creating discussions that help move the needle have been a focus of past Built Oregon events and will continue to be so in 2016. They will be discussions that talk about the challenges and opportunities in certain industry segments or regions around Oregon.
Storytelling & Listening Tours
Outreach and engagement is the only way to know what is happening around the state. We are going to embark on series of whistle stop (ok, maybe Subaru horn) tours around the state to meet up with people, listen to their first person account of what is happening, and allow them to share their stories.
Built Oregon Main Event
The stories we tell and events we do bring awareness to the companies and groups who are building Oregon. They can inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs, or get people to lean in and get involved in their communities. But we can do more. We should do more. So what do you say, let’s do more. We are going to put it down, right here, that in 2016 Built Oregon is going to organize a big event. So what are we thinking? We’re glad you asked.
- A multi-day gathering and celebration of Oregon based companies and industries
- With specific industry showcases and discussions
- Shining lights on the diverse mix of Oregon founders and companies
- Storytelling talks
- And an intentional focus on cross industry and geography collaborative opportunities
Now, this will not be easy, and will most likely be a smaller event the first year. But every journey has to start somewhere. As an avid supporter of Built Oregon always says, “Done beats perfect.”
In the simplest terms, our focus is going to be on creating more connected communities. Outreach and listening before action. Creating opportunities for voices and movements to be heard; whether those voices are centered on industries like tech, apparel/outdoor, food & beverage, and manufacturing—or issues like inclusive competitiveness and rural economic opportunities.
But as we have said from the beginning, this is not about Built Oregon. It’s about the companies, industries, and communities around Oregon. It’s about hearing your stories, and then working to shine a light on them.
Most importantly, it’s about listening to you. The members and supporters of Built Oregon have gotten us this far, but in our minds, the journey is just beginning.
So there you go. Let’s build a base that we can add to in the future. We hope you will join us as we build a more connected and vibrant Oregon community.
More to come in early 2016.
The Built Oregon Team
(also known as Mitch, Terry and Rick)